About Crime Stoppers Belize…
What is Crime Stoppers?
Crime Stoppers is a program designed to reduce crime by partnering with the community, the media, the local police and other law enforcement agencies. The media reports the crime, the community identifies the criminal(s) who’ve committed the crime and provides information to Crime Stoppers anonymously, and the police acts upon the information provided by arresting and charging the criminals. When the criminals are arrested, they are effectively removed from the community hence reducing crime in the area. Crime can only be combated when everyone gets involved.
Crime Stoppers is a community based program designed to help law enforcement solve crime by setting up a system which allows the public to phone in tips anonymously and receive rewards for information that leads directly to the arrest and charge of a suspect for a crime. It is Belize’s anonymous TIPS hotline to report crime-related information. Tipsters remain anonymous and become eligible for rewards of up to $1,000.
How Does Crime Stoppers Work?
Someone with information on any crime committed must call in to the toll free Crime Stoppers number 0-800-922-8477. The call is answered by international operators who take the information from the caller. Each caller is given a code number so that their identity can remain unknown. The caller is then told to call back to check on their tip. If the information results in an arrest and charge, then the caller is eligible for a cash reward.
It’s simple. Callers are urged to call 0-800-922-TIPS (8477) with information on any crime. Crime Stoppers cases are featured on television, radio, and in newspapers. Callers are issued code numbers and remain anonymous.
Who Runs Crime Stoppers?
It is operated by an independent citizen directed Board of Directors. They are civic-minded leaders in their communities who are dedicated to helping law enforcement solve crime in Belize.
What Law Enforcement Agencies are Involved?
All of them. Information is passed to the relevant areas for example the Police Department and other agencies such as the Customs and the Immigration Departments.
Why Should we Support Crime Stoppers?
No one wants to be a victim of crime. No one wants to live or work in a high crime neighborhood. Usually when a crime is committed, someone other than the criminal himself knows about the crime but is afraid to make a report to the police. Crime Stoppers allows anyone with information to make their report without any fear that anyone can identify them. The police alone cannot put a stop to crime, but if everyone joins together to support Crime Stoppers we can take criminals off the street.
Who Funds Crime Stoppers?
This program is not funded by the government or by any tax dollars. Crime Stoppers is funded solely through, corporate sponsorship, donations and fund raising. Citizens and local businesses make Crime Stoppers work.
History of Crime Stoppers
Crime Stoppers was first started in Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.A. in 1979 when a gas station attendant was killed. After several weeks, the case was growing cold because there were no leads or eye witnesses. The crime was re-enacted and aired on the local television and a local hotline was provided. Within 2 days, information was provided by someone who had unwittingly witnessed the assailants leaving the scene of the crime and the case was solved.
Since then, more than 1,200 programs in over 51 countries have been established around the world. Crime Stoppers International has helped to make over one million arrests and has also helped to recover over three billion dollars worth in stolen property.
The Crime Stoppers Belize program was founded in 2004 by the Rotary Club of Belize, with the collaborative support of the Rotary Club of Belmopan, Rotary Club of San Ignacio, the civic leaders, the media, and the law enforcement officials.
Organization and Structure
Crime Stoppers Belize is an NGO, a non-profit making organization, it is a member of Crime Stoppers International and a member of the Caribbean and Latin American Crime Stoppers Organization, however it is managed independently of those international bodies.
The program is managed by a civilian Board of Directors, made up of Rotarians and civilian members. The Board fund-raises, sets polices, etc. That Board of Directors is primarily made up of members of the different Rotary Clubs throughout Belize, with those members representing the community as a whole, and representing the high ideals set by Rotary International.
The Board sets policies and strategies, raises funds for rewards and administrative costs, raises public awareness through advertising and crime re-enactments, determines the amount and method of reward payments, monitors the performance of the program, and so on. The day-to-day implementation of those matters is delegated to a Chief Operating Officer.
The program also receives some financial support from the Belize Police Department with their provision of a full-time Program Coordinator who reports directly to the Board of Directors. However, Crime Stoppers Belize employs its own Chief Operating Officer who implements the policies set by the board and oversees the general running of the program.
The Coordinator receives the tips from the overseas Call Centre, provides that information directly to the various Law Enforcement Agencies in Belize, such as the Police, Customs, and Immigration, and ‘manages’ the list of tips so that all tips are investigated.
Member of the Board are changed annually at 1st July (coincides with the Rotary Year), with at least 4 members of the previous Board being re-elected by the outgoing board in order to ensure continuity. The new Board members shall be selected, by invitation, by the outgoing Board, with those members being selected for their skills and positions within the community. The Chairperson is elected by the new Board members.
Crime Stoppers Belize is a duly registered entity under the by-laws of Crime Stoppers International; thereby receiving guidance and expertise from its international partners.
Accounting and Management
Crime Stopper Programs are organized as a not for profit organization (Charity). A civilian community board of directors provides direction as to the financial and promotional activities of the program. The board of directors enhances the community involvement aspect, and its function is vital to the programs success. The Crime Stoppers program is funded by private donations and fund raising. NO TAX DOLLARS are involved. The reward money paid out by the program is from the fund raising and donations from concerned citizens and businesses. A community board of directors, made up of persons from throughout the country, meets on a monthly basis to evaluate arrests and to decide on the size of rewards to be paid, up to $1,000. Rewards are then distributed in a private manner to the callers. Callers are eligible for rewards up to $1,000, but, despite this, many callers choose not to collect their rewards.
The board has a treasurer who provides financial reports and an annual audit of finances is conducted. Legal advice is also provided by a member of the board who serves in his/her capacity.
The organization is funded by donations from members of the public. Twelve primary sponsors are used to provide the core funding, including benefits in kind from BTL (BTL provides the international communication link to the overseas Call Centre). Additional funds are then obtained to cover specific activities, as and when required.
Did you know?
Crime Stoppers was designed to help overcome the fear of reprisal and/or apathy that people feel in providing information about crimes. Anonymity overcomes fear. The possibility of a cash reward overcomes apathy.